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Day 13 - Arvel to Todd's road

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sheltowee wanderer
on trail
on trail

Joined: 25 Oct 2004
Posts: 30
Location: Lexington, KY

PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 9:01 pm    Post subject: Day 13 - Arvel to Todd's road Reply with quote

When Jay and I got up the next morning we noticed that we were not exaggerating when we were noticed that we were camped on the side of a mountain. The road that acted as the trail left enough room on the side; however, if we went any further we would have found ourselves rolling down the side of a mountain. Funny how things look different in the dark! After a breakfast of quick oats we quickly left in the pursuit of water and came across a spring with a sign on the right side of the trail that said “Water unsafe for drinking without treatment”. We decided not to procure water from there. Instead, we found a tributary of War fork Creek following the tail in the valley just below which crossed the trail just ahead. It proved to be good source of fast moving, clear water.
We saw a tributary of War fork Creek running below us that we soon crossed and got water from not knowing that there was something just up ahead that may have changed our minds about drinking the water from that source. We walked up to a natural rock overhang/shelter that held a large pole of water with many rusted out barrels laying in it. There was another sign that read “Water unsafe for drinking without treatment” designed in the same fashion as the previous one. What the barrels contained was unknown but we think that it may have been oil since there is oil drilling activity in the area. The ground had an oily look and feel to it and was just uphill from the tributary that we collected water from. The runoff from the pool of stagnate, smelly water was aimed downhill right in the direction of the creek. To make things worse I spotted a turtle in the pool that looked very ill and was not responsive to my presence. One of its front legs was damaged so badly that it could not close its shell. Whether or not the area in which it was in had anything to do with its injury was not clear, however, it was an interesting coincidence.
Just down the trail we spotted some abandoned vehicles in the woods as we neared Polly Sparks Road which connected to another road that went down a steep hill, and crossed Grassy Fork Creek, where another old abandoned house sat. It continued into the small community of Arvel where a very small Post office was situated. I have read in many guides that food and other supplies have been dropped off here to be picked up by hikers as they pass by. Upon arriving we quickly went to see if the P.O. / General store was open, though at first appearance it did not seem so. However, after asking a nearby man about the store hours we found out this he and his wife owned the place and only opened its doors on occasion. They seemed very reluctant to let us in but agreed to do so. I have never felt as if I had to convince someone to let me buy their goods! Jay stayed outside and watched the dog as I went in to get as much as they would let me. I got a couple bottles of water and some junk food, quickly paid in cash, as the lady watched my every move, and made my way for the shade tree in the front of the store. The women had already disappeared. Jay was happy to see my stash.
After leaving the Post office we walked (hitch hiked) down Hwy 1209 which turned into Hwy 587. The trail resumed again at the intersection of Hwy 587 and Hale’s Ridge Road. The location of the trail was at the edge of three counties so in just a of a couple hundred feet we were out of Jackson, into Owsley, into Lee in Owsley again and back into Lee county for the last time. I’ll have to remember this place the next time I am running from the police! The trail was extremely grown over and had seen very little use. In some places we had to stop and take a look at the GPS in order to make sure we were going in the right direction. Along the way we came to some power lines that were fragmenting the forest and stopped to take some photos. It may not seem like much but forest fragmentation is a pretty serious issue. After a couple of miles Jay, I, and the dog came to Hale’s Ridge road again where our next trail intersected the road and the next trail head was. At this point it was about two hours from getting dark and where I wanted to camp that night was three miles away, down by Todd’s road at an abandoned house and a clean water source. If we moved at 2.5 miles an hour we would have enough time to get there in time to set up camp. Despite the rush we still found time to stop and pick some blackberries.
As it turns out we got their just in time. The evening was filled with reflecting on the day’s adventure and talking about how we could improve our methods of travel. We camped next to an open field and it was nice to see the open sky again.

The Photo Gallery - Day 13
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